Salaries & Job Offers
Have a job offer in-hand and wonder what comes next? Or, would you just like to be prepared for when the day comes? Surprisingly, there's a lot more to consider than just the salary when evaluating a job offer.
Explore and Research Salaries
The following sites serve as great tools for researching salaries.
Great place to search by job title to explore occupations, salaries, job-growth trends, and to get a snapshot of any given job on a daily basis.
Salary information by company and position based on data shared by users. Also, includes insights for the interview process.
SCU Graduate Outcomes Survey
This information is based on surveys filled out by SCU grads six months after graduation.
For students interested in working for start-ups, here is a salary tool that may be useful:
Add information related to your education, employment history, and other factors to create accurate compensation and guidance.
Evaluating Job Offers
Congratulations, you got a job offer! Now what?
As you evaluate a job offer, consider:
- Are the work environment (team, culture...), position duties, and management style a good fit?
- What are the opportunities for growth?
- What skills or experience can you expect to gain?
- Are you being offered a fair market value for your skills and experience? how does this offer compare to similar job titles and organization?
- What employee benefits are offered by the organization? Do these benefits offset the salary?
- What is the job market like right now for current students and recent grads?
Thinking of relocating?
Consider using a cost of living calculator if you plan on working outside of California. A salary offer may be lower, but may net you a higher living standard depending on the state.
Review your Employee Benefits in your offer package. You may be surprised that a lower paying job with great benefits can put you ahead when compared to a higher paying job. Talk to the company’s Human Resources representative to get details about the company’s benefits.
- Health Insurance. The most common benefit is health insurance. Carefully review the company’s options to determine the right plan for you. This may also include dental, vision, and disability insurance.
- 401k retirement plan. Some companies will match your 401k contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary.
- Paid vacation and sick time. These will accrue as you work.
- Life Insurance. Generally your employer will pay for the amount of one year’s salary, while giving you the option to purchase additional coverage.
- Stock Options. Your employer may offer stock options, which allow you to purchase the company’s stock at a pre-determined price. The company will put a waiting period on when your options vest and can be exercised. It is generally used as an incentive to keep you at the company.
- Flexible Spending Accounts. This account will allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for medical and daycare expenses. Flexible spending accounts are a great way to decrease your taxable income.
As a new college graduate, you may consider negotiating your salary. Before you negotiate, be aware:
- You are not required or obligated to negotiate salary.
- Large companies often have pre-determined starting salaries based on market compensation analysis. These starting salaries are often non-negotiable.
- One reason to consider negotiating salary is to ensure you are being offered a fair market value for your skills and experience. Don’t negotiate only for the sake of negotiating.
- One question to ask yourself: Do I possess qualifications above and beyond what is listed in the job description? If the answer is no, it’s likely you do not have a credible reason to ask for a higher salary. As you gain more experience, skills, and expertise, you will have more leverage to negotiate.
Tips for negotiation:
- Call and start by expressing your gratitude for the offer and how honored you are to be offered an opportunity to work for the company. Next, add that there are one or two things you would like to discuss before signing the offer letter.
- Do not negotiate everything. Decide on one or two things that are important to you.
- Frame the conversation in terms of mutual goals.Keep it neutral and impersonal. Instead of saying, "Can YOU increase the salary offer?" use a neutral phrase such as "Does THE COMPANY have any flexibility to increase the salary offer?"
- Be open to alternatives. They may suggest a signing bonus or early review if there is no flexibility on salary. Remember, salary is only one piece of your offer package. Consider other aspects of the offer which include employee benefits.
- Look for a mutually acceptable solution. This is the beginning of a long relationship, not a one-time competition.
- Know your bottom line. Be aware of what you need (your minimum requirements to support yourself) and what you want (your ideal starting salary).
- Summarize the agreed upon offer at the end and request the offer in writing.
- Reiterate your appreciation of their offer and their flexibility in meeting your requests.
Other items to negotiate besides salary:
Accepting And Declining Offers
The Rule of Thumb
- Do not accept an offer before you are ready. Once you accept a job offer, you should stop all other interviewing.
- Once you make a commitment to start the job, it would be viewed as unprofessional should you renege on your commitment. Acceptance of an employment offer should be made in good faith and with the sincere intention to honor the commitment.
- If you find yourself in an ethical dilemma about having accepted a position and realizing that it was not the best decision for you, please discuss this with a member of the Career Center staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Hiring is a long and resource intensive process. After you have completed the interview process and have accepted a job or internship offer, human resources and your future boss and team are likely relieved and excited to be bringing you on-board. Not to mention, rejection letters are sent out to all the other candidates. Put yourself in their shoes. How would it feel to start the hiring process over again?
- Companies do not take reneging (backing out after you've accepted an offer) lightly. You run the risk of jeopardizing opportunities for future SCU students by possibly damaging the recruiting relationship between SCU and the company.
- Recruiters (and hiring managers) change companies, so you never know when and where your reputation for reneging will follow you.
- Make sure you get an offer in writing that includes salary, job title, start date, eligibility for benefits, and a signature from the organization’s representative.
- Occasionally an employer may give you a much shorter time frame, possibly 24-48 hours to pressure you to accept an offer.
- Come into the Career Center for a drop-in appointment to discuss the offer you have received and how to negotiate with the employer if you need more time to make a decision. Some employers will extend the time, others will not, so you will need to consider your options carefully.
- Make sure you have given yourself enough time to properly evaluate the offer.
- If the position is not a good fit for you, demonstrate your appreciation and respect by turning down the offer as quickly as possible.
- Call the employer to verbally decline or write a brief letter.